[ Rough Trade / LP ]
Release Date: Friday 28 May 2021
The groundwork for Cavalcade was laid in 2019 - musical sketches that had been brewing since the release of Schlagenheim began muscling their way into black midi set lists and finally became individual entities. But with this album, there was a "yearning" to be more considered and record something that was more harmonically interesting and challenging. "It's easy to get wrapped up in the improvisation myth of divine intervention, that if a song doesn't happen in the room naturally without it being guided by someone specifically, when we're all just feeling the vibe, then it's not proper and it's not pure," says Greep. "That's kind of a dangerous thing because you end up never trying something different, or you just abandon an idea if it doesn't work at first because you're always waiting for that thing to arrive perfect."
With this new approach in mind, half of Cavalcade was written by individual members at home and brought to the table in rehearsal. Simpson confirms it was to their advantage: "The experience this time round was completely the flipside to Schlagenheim. A lot of the material was really fresh but that was something that played into our hands and we relished it."
After initially recording 'John L' with producer Marta Salogni in London, the band found themselves in the aptly named Hellfire Studios, in the Dublin mountains, in summer 2020 under the eye of John 'Spud' Murphy. Geordie comments: "It worked really well with John. We wanted a natural, open sound combined with fourth wall breaks - for lack of a better expression. Do you know on record when you can hear the tape screeching, the things that make you aware that you're listening to a recording? [With a lot of records] it feels like either you're listening to the ECM, high-fidelity, 25 mic amazing sound or you have the lo-fi album full of crazy effects. And I thought, 'Why not have an album where you combine the two?' That was one of the main ideas going into it and John was very keen on that idea."
With original band member guitarist/vocalist Matt Kwasniewski-Kelvin taking time away from the group to focus on his mental health, black midi chose to augment their sound on Cavalcade, rather than replicate it, with saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi and keyboard player Seth Evans.
Following the release of Schlagenheim, The Times (UK) called black midi "the most exciting band of 2019." They were featured in the New York Times Magazine's annual music issue, named a Rising artist by Pitchfork, Band to Watch by Stereogum and Artist You Need to Know by Rolling Stone. The New York Times, Pitchfork, Stereogum, SPIN and beyond featured it in their best albums of 2019.
1. John L
2. Marlene Dietrich
3. Chondromalcia Patella
5. Diamond Stuff
7. Hogwash and Balderdash
8. Ascending Forth